Santa Clarita Cowboy Festival 

The Santa Clarita Cowboy Festival is making its return in April after a three-year hiatus due to the COVID-19 pandemic.
The Santa Clarita Cowboy Festival is making its return after a three-year hiatus due to the COVID-19 pandemic. Photo courtesy of the city of Santa Clarita.

By Michele E. Buttelman 

After three years of no cowboy peach cobbler, no cowboy trick roping, no cowboy gunslingers or cowboy crooners, the Santa Clarita Cowboy Festival will mosey onto Main Street in Old Town Newhall the weekend of April 22-23.  

Kyle Lopez, Arts and Event Supervisor for the city of Santa Clarita, heads up the team bringing a refreshed look to the 2023 Cowboy Festival.  

“We are really excited and looking forward to bringing the community back out to a fun event, and to showcase Santa Clarita history and culture,” she said. “We want people to just have a good time.” 

In addition to the Western music fans love the festival will also feature Country, Folk and Bluegrass music.  

“We have an eclectic blend of music at the festival this year,” said Lopez.  

“Over the course of the last several Cowboy Festivals the demographics of attendees has changed. Offering additional genres of music exposes guests to different types of music. I think having a nice blend opens it up to a wider audience.”   

The best part of the 2023 Cowboy Festival is that it will be free to attend, except for a few ticketed shows and tours.  

The Line Up 

Cowboy Festival favorites Jon Chandler and Dave Stamey will perform joined by Sourdough Slim, Carin Mari, Gary Allegretto and others.  

Three stages of live music will include two on Main Street and one inside The MAIN Theater.  

Lopez said each artist will perform once per day. A total of 34 musical performances will be offered between the three stages.  

Chandler is a three-time winner of the prestigious Spur Award from the Western Writers of America. He was also named True West Magazine’s Best Western Musician. 

Stamey is a nationally acclaimed cowboy singer/songwriter and entertainer and in 2016 was inducted into the International Western Music Hall of Fame. He has been recognized five times by True West magazine as the Best Living Solo Western Musician. 

Sourdough Slim has won the Academy of Western Artists 2001 Will Rogers Award for “Yodeler of the Year” and in 2009, 2010 and 2011 earned nominations for “Entertainer of the Year” from the Western Music Association. 

Festival Fun 

In addition to the music the festival will feature hatchet throwing, panning for gold, Western Swing dancing and Dutch oven peach cobbler. 

Lopez said other interactive activities include archery, mechanical bull riding and line dancing classes and instruction. 

“We want to have a variety of activities that are fun for all ages to participate in,” said Lopez.  

Festival favorite and mainstay lasso expert Dave Thornbury will return to the streets of Old Town Newhall to dazzle guests with his trick roping expertise. 

Also returning to the Cowboy Festival will be living history exhibits including the blacksmiths and Buffalo Soldiers. 

Buffalo soldiers were African American soldiers who mainly served on the Western frontier following the American Civil War. 

Visit their camp at the Cowboy Festival to learn about this time in American history.  

Lopez said Old Town Newhall is a good location to relaunch the Cowboy Festival. 

“Main Street has really blossomed over the past few years, it is great showcase for Santa Clarita and it is a great backdrop for the festival,” she said. 

Food and Shopping 

In addition to a variety of food vendors the festival will offer more than a dozen carefully-curated vendors showcasing their western wares in The Trading Post and Mercantile Row. Stroll through a western-town environment and browse vintage boots, hats, leather goods, jewelry and western fashion.  

“We will have some returning vendors from years past including fan favorites,” said Lopez. “However, some vendors we reached out to from past festivals are no longer traveling, or no longer in the business.” 

SCV Rotary Peach Cobbler 

The Santa Clarita Valley Rotary Club will return to serve their famous peach cobbler, made the old-fashioned way in a cast iron Dutch oven and served hot with a mountain of whip cream.  

The SCV Rotary cobbler booth at Cowboy Festival is a fundraiser for the club which was founded more than 50 years ago.  

SCV Rotary supports a variety of causes including benefiting veterans, students, seniors and others in the SCV and beyond.  

Still to Come 

Other events being finalized include two ticketed shows, one at the Newhall Family Theater and the other at the Canyon Theatre Guild.  

Rancho Camulos in Piru will also host its Californio Fiesta De Rancho Camulos on Friday, April 21. See for updates.  

Headliners are still to be announced for all three events. 

Two movie tours will also be offered, as well as a limited number of VIP tickets.  

Cowboy Festival volunteer opportunities will also soon be available.  

Visit for updates on all events, tickets and performers.  

SENSES, Walk of Western Stars 

Leading up to the Cowboy Festival, a Wild Wild West SENSES Block Party will be held on Main Street on Thursday, April 20 from 7 p.m. to 10 p.m. and feature live music, themed activities an on-street bar and more.  

The Walk of Western Stars will unveil its 2023 inductees on Friday, April 21. This event will commemorate the inductees’ contributions to Western entertainment history by immortalizing their names in bronze and terrazzo tile, stamped into the streets of Old Town Newhall. 


The Cowboy Festival is an important event to bring visitors to Santa Clarita, said Lopez.  

“We want to showcase the fantastic place Santa Clarita is, as well as the history. We want people to bring their tourism dollars to Santa Clarita,” said Lopez. 

Lopez said the plan is for this year’s Cowboy Festival to be a “one time event” in Old Town Newhall with future festivals to be held at a larger venue. 

“The goal is to find a traditional venue for the Cowboy Festival,” she said. “From a tourism perspective we want to bring people to the event, it is a tourism draw regionally and nationally.” 

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